Entice into Emptiness 引進落空

Discussion on the three big Chinese internals, Yiquan, Bajiquan, Piguazhang and other similar styles.

Re: Entice into Emptiness 引進落空

Postby Bao on Sun Nov 21, 2021 8:13 am

Bhassler wrote:It's funny that taiji people (or IMA people in general) seem to think they're the only ones who avoid force on force conflict, and instead use skill to neutralize the opponent's attack and thereby create opportunities for themselves. In reality, everyone I've met who has had to fight past their hormone-riddled early twenties has realized that force on force is stupid and painful.


But isn't it said that most people have to realise it by themselves, sooner or later depending on their own experiences? Sure, there are systems and styles focusing on not going force against force, as BJJ and similar. Wouldn't it be good for any realistic system to have this idea as a main principle. ???

and is better achieved with angles and positioning than imagining one is going to stand there and neutralize a strike by wiggling their body around.


Don't really understand your point. Maybe you confuse basic sensitivity and movability drills with actual fighting strategies?

If anyone thinks they have the sensitivity to yeild yield to a strike based purely on touch without establishing contact first...


Of course you should establish contact. One of the main principles of Tai Chi strategy is to close in, making contact with your opponent as soon as possible. Tai Chi was not designed for the type of punch exchanging point chasing sparring that is common today. Following and adapting on distance is also a main idea in Tai chi strategy.
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Re: Entice into Emptiness 引進落空

Postby Bao on Sun Nov 21, 2021 8:20 am

Steve James wrote:It's why people often doubt tcc yielding works. The idea of "give yourself up and follow the other" can be hard to swallow. :)


People have a hard time coping with the idea about not to exert as much strength as possible and that there are smart and practical things that can give you a better advantage than trying to overpowering, regardless if it's done with or without any sense of leverage. If you don't have specific methods to actually practice how to "fill in the gaps" and "add your movement to his own movement", or how to find the "dead angles", then you won't understand how to do it when it counts.

Tai Chi is certainly not the only art that has this focus, and many Tai chi schools lack a bit in this as well. But you need actual practice and get used to the specific methods. Even if it's all highly practical, how else could you believe in it?
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Re: Entice into Emptiness 引進落空

Postby LaoDan on Sun Nov 21, 2021 8:55 am

From my teacher I learned hua (化 transform), na (拿 sieze/control), and da (打 strike/attack). Zhang Yun lists additional steps [note that I consider da and fa as essentially interchangeable, both referring to issuing] which may be better for distinguishing yielding [included in hua] from leading [included in yin 引]:

Using jin in pushing hands and fighting

  One common mistake for many people is that they try to use fa jin too directly.  They just want to use their jin to beat their opponents as hard as possible.  But in real Taiji Quan skill, throwing jin should never be used alone.   
The complete process consists of five steps:
1. Ting – listen:  feel or detect what the opponent want to do,
2. Hua – melt or dissolve: neutralize the attacking force,
3. Yin – lure:  give the opponent false impressions, making him feel like he can get you, and leading him to go where you want him to go,
4. Na - hold or control:  get the opponent under your control (usually means keep him off-balanced), and
5. Fa  - release a throwing force:  attack.  

 Here the first four skills are nei jin skills, while the last one, fa, can be either nei jin or wai jin.  In order to be true Taiji skill, the first four steps must be present.


As to zhan 沾 and nian 黏, lian 连 and sui 随, I consider stick and adhere to be the same idea of establishing a bridge or point of contact, the only difference is whether they are touching you or you are touching them (yin = receiving their contact, or yang = you initiating contact with them). Likewise, connect (or link/join) and follow are the same maintenance of the point of contact during movements, except for if you are following their movements (= yin), or you are initiating the movements (= yang).
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Re: Entice into Emptiness 引進落空

Postby Steve James on Sun Nov 21, 2021 9:02 am

I agree. There's no way to have confidence it (whatever) method works is to actually make it work. Every beginner wants to believe it works, but it's really just a lot of fancy sayings and theories. Once someone recognizes how it Can work, then it's just a matter of refining the skill --and one can make sense (for oneself) of the sayings.

I forget where it came from, but there was the saying that for tcc to work one needed calmness, confidence, and courage. One is supposed to wait for an attack, let it come as close as possible, while remaining calm, and then counterattack. "Sure, but anyone's whose been in a real fight knows that the heart starts to race. It's easy to get tense and hold one's breath." "What if the opponent is bigger, stronger, faster than you are?" :) It's all true, of course. But, to paraphrase Eminem, 'You only get one shot, do not miss your chance to blow
The opportunity comes once in a fight-time.' Lose yourself.
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Re: Entice into Emptiness 引進落空

Postby oragami_itto on Sun Nov 21, 2021 9:15 am

Steve James wrote:Using those terms, "leading" and "enticing" are the same, except the former is physical and the latter is psychological. "Yielding" means "not resisting." Of course, there are many ways not to resist; running away, for example. But, the skill is in yielding "without letting go."


Does yielding have a psychological component or is it purely physical?
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Re: Entice into Emptiness 引進落空

Postby Steve James on Sun Nov 21, 2021 10:53 am

Does yielding have a psychological component or is it purely physical?


I'd say that the mental aspect comes first. Whether that's described as psychology or using "intent" may be a matter of interpretation. For ex., imo, a psychological strategy is to get the opponent to overcommit. How one deals with that over-commitment is physical.
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Re: Entice into Emptiness 引進落空

Postby Bhassler on Sun Nov 21, 2021 7:44 pm

Bao wrote:
Bhassler wrote:It's funny that taiji people (or IMA people in general) seem to think they're the only ones who avoid force on force conflict, and instead use skill to neutralize the opponent's attack and thereby create opportunities for themselves. In reality, everyone I've met who has had to fight past their hormone-riddled early twenties has realized that force on force is stupid and painful.


But isn't it said that most people have to realise it by themselves, sooner or later depending on their own experiences? Sure, there are systems and styles focusing on not going force against force, as BJJ and similar. Wouldn't it be good for any realistic system to have this idea as a main principle. ???


That's kind of my point. All the systems I've come across have had similar principles, provided they're taught by someone who knows what they're doing. The execution can vary quite a bit, but the principles are there.

Bao wrote:
and is better achieved with angles and positioning than imagining one is going to stand there and neutralize a strike by wiggling their body around.


Don't really understand your point. Maybe you confuse basic sensitivity and movability drills with actual fighting strategies?


I don't, but it seems like there are many who do. As you said, it's a drill, nothing less and nothing more. Many people seem to fail to grasp that how a skill is developed is not necessarily the same as how it is used.

Bao wrote:
If anyone thinks they have the sensitivity to yeild yield to a strike based purely on touch without establishing contact first...


Of course you should establish contact. One of the main principles of Tai Chi strategy is to close in, making contact with your opponent as soon as possible. Tai Chi was not designed for the type of punch exchanging point chasing sparring that is common today. Following and adapting on distance is also a main idea in Tai chi strategy.


Again, I'm just speaking to those who imagine tai chi will somehow lead to some airbender shit that makes them like water and untouchable to the heathen masses, or able to subdue opponents with the lightest touch. The 'slap test' should provide a good measure of practicality for that kind of approach, with the added bonus of being pretty funny to think about.
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Re: Entice into Emptiness 引進落空

Postby wayne hansen on Sun Nov 21, 2021 10:35 pm

The slap test
I like it
My teacher would always strike it you didn't yield in an appropriate manner
He would then quote Hung from Masters and Methods
A student myst be stung often and hurt occasionally
Don't put power into the form let it naturally arise from the form
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Re: Entice into Emptiness 引進落空

Postby Bao on Mon Nov 22, 2021 2:10 am

Bhassler wrote:Again, I'm just speaking to those who imagine tai chi will somehow lead to some airbender shit that makes them like water and untouchable to the heathen masses, or able to subdue opponents with the lightest touch.


I understood so. Not many Tai Chi practitioners practice authentic methods. Even less try to test them in a more live setting as sparring. What they are taught in drills and partner exercises tend to become their only standard. But you can't force things on people what they don't know, or what they have no interest in. It is what it is. :-\
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Re: Entice into Emptiness 引進落空

Postby oragami_itto on Mon Nov 22, 2021 5:51 am

Bhassler wrote:
That's kind of my point. All the systems I've come across have had similar principles, provided they're taught by someone who knows what they're doing. The execution can vary quite a bit, but the principles are there.



Which other systems embrace "stick, adhere, join, follow, without letting go and without resistance", as a central concept, other than taijiquan?
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Re: Entice into Emptiness 引進落空

Postby marvin8 on Mon Nov 22, 2021 9:46 am

oragami_itto wrote:
Bhassler wrote:
That's kind of my point. All the systems I've come across have had similar principles, provided they're taught by someone who knows what they're doing. The execution can vary quite a bit, but the principles are there.


Which other systems embrace "stick, adhere, join, follow, without letting go and without resistance", as a central concept, other than taijiquan?

In the context of fighting (not demo), judo, wrestling, MMA, boxing, combat sports, etc. Tactics, training or explanations may differ. It’s what you are doing with the opponent’s energy: harmonize with the opponent, entice a response, lead the response into a favorable position, then issue (fa). It's not about a particular technique.

Excerpt from "The Song of Push Hands (Da Shou Ge)::"

Zhang Yun and David Ho wrote:Translation: Let him bring overwhelming force against me, I will lure him to make the first move1 and then use only four ounces force to move a thousand pounds. ...

An example is the "pull/push" strategy shown in this thread, "Tai Chi Fa Jin Analysis: Old Man Taiji:"

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Re: Entice into Emptiness 引進落空

Postby Steve James on Mon Nov 22, 2021 4:45 pm

As to zhan 沾 and nian 黏, lian 连 and sui 随, I consider stick and adhere to be the same idea of establishing a bridge or point of contact, the only difference is whether they are touching you or you are touching them (yin = receiving their contact, or yang = you initiating contact with them).


I may be getting the wording wrong, but stick and adhere are really tricky to describe. I always thought of it as the difference between "putting something on" (like a poster) and "trying to take something off." So, I imagined as as I stick to the opponent when he comes, and then adhere to him so he can't let go. One idea is to simply turn a ward-off into a "na."
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Re: Entice into Emptiness 引進落空

Postby Giles on Tue Nov 23, 2021 7:58 am

I think there are many good contributions/postings from just about everyone in this thread. The precision and conciseness of Doc Stier's summary "Classical tui-shou (push hands) partner training..." is great.
Of course, the other question is to what extent you can make it work, walk the tai chi walk and not just talk the talk, but since it's a forum and we mostly live hundreds or thousands of miles apart (...a pity...), we have to stick to the talk.

oragami_itto wrote:
Steve James wrote:Using those terms, "leading" and "enticing" are the same, except the former is physical and the latter is psychological. "Yielding" means "not resisting." Of course, there are many ways not to resist; running away, for example. But, the skill is in yielding "without letting go."


Does yielding have a psychological component or is it purely physical?


Most human movement involving interaction with others has "a psychological component" that modulates the quality and nuances (and hence often outcomes) thereof. Even though this mostly not perceived as such.

Okay, my smart-arse generalizing remark aside: Yes, in my experience it usually has a strong psychological or indeed emotional component. Not in the sense of having to swim in a bath of warm and fuzzy feelings in order to yield, however. More specifically, almost all kind of 'incoming force' will tend to trigger (unconscious) fear and hence make one tense up to freeze or resist, even if a tai chi student has in principle accepted the logic and necessity of becoming 'soft' and yielding (under certain circumstances, at least). Some 'higher' parts of the brain are already on board but other 'older', 'deeper' and often 'stronger' parts of the brain still aren't buying it. Which at one level makes sense: in a survival situation, it's better to go with tried-and-tested methods (block, stop the threat) than to abandon these, "go limp" ;) and maybe get smashed. Or even to take one's chance with a still-dubious strategy of yielding. And at a deeper level, even the more sedate partner exercises such as 'gentle tui shou' are still perceived as survival situations by deeper parts of the brain. That's why it takes most people so long to overcome the tensing response when training. Or alternatively they start wiggling and wriggling and/or pulling away, which is also not true yielding. Of course, true yielding (with simultaneous retention of underlying structure) is an excellent way, and sometimes even the best way, of protecting yourself. But part of the mind is already shouting "No way, you can't do this!! Maybe relax to some extent, okay, but give up all tension?! No!!!" ;)

When teaching basic tuishou to 'beginners' (not so important if they are true martial beginners or experienced martial artists/sports fighters) I sometimes suggest to them "Relax your heart". Partly meaning the chest area in general, but also tapping into the emotional aspect, the sudden fear one feels, often not consciously, as even a more 'gentle' push is incoming. Not to mention a faster strike. Sometimes this suggestion works really well and you can see physical tension/hardness drain from this area and from the face, the lips, the jaw, as well. And suddenly the yielding technique/component starts to function much better as well.

I still notice this aspect in my own training with partners. I'm pretty much over the tensing reflex caused by ego and 'not wanting to lose' with regard to status etc. But time and again (although not all the time) I find myself stiffening and failing to yield (properly) in moments when I suddenly feel trapped or 'compromised' in the flow of tui shou or applications or sparring. Here, most of the time there's no problem with my technique, mobility, structure etc. as such. It's simply the fear reflex, being triggered enough to prevent me (my body) from flowing and yielding and returning/issuing as it could and should. For myself too, I find "relaxing my heart" is the most useful fix and trained reflex for making progress.
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Re: Entice into Emptiness 引進落空

Postby windwalker on Tue Nov 23, 2021 8:22 am

Very interesting reading the comments.

Many people talk about sticking, and Adhering

Would anyone care to share what they mean?

What/ how , What do they feel they are ie. “ Sticking to”, how do they do it ?

In the spirit of sharing, not as correct or only way.
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Re: Entice into Emptiness 引進落空

Postby Steve James on Tue Nov 23, 2021 8:42 am

Maybe relax to some extent, okay, but give up all tension?! No!!!" ;)


Phs "relax" and tournament or fight "relax" are different :). Body, mind, spirit/emotion.

In phs, all 3 can be relaxed in the same way. But, the mind telling the body to relax doesn't work because the mind is occupied. I.e., I'd argue that one doesn't relax something (a body part or the mind) by saying "relax." And, while you're saying it, you're not relaxed. "Empty the mind." In phs, and the opponent isn't trying to hurt you, that's easy in theory.

In a competition, otoh, and the other guy is trying to put you out of commission, it might be better to be on high emotional and mental alert, while not exposing or expressing it with a tensed up body. Imo, that was what phs was supposed to be training a person to be able to relax in a high stress situation and make responses second nature (that one doesn't have to think about at all).

Fwiw, I think a phrase like "sink the qi to the dantien" is better than "relax" --even if there's no such thing as qi or dantien. It can serve as a mantra to trigger a relaxation response. Heck, counting backward from 10 to control one's temper is a similar idea.
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